Hasbro, SDCC, & Hascon, WTF?
Hasbro has finally announced details for Hascon. To quote Voldemort, “I confess myself…disappointed.” Not unexpectedly so, but disappointed nonetheless.
First off, let’s talk about “HASCON, THE PREMIER HASBRO FANmily EVENT.” I’m not making that up. The site actually says that. Whoever the marketing and/or advertising genius is who came up with FANmily, they need to be immediately fired and find another line of work. Whoever approved it should go with them.
Tickets. $165 gets you a three day pass or $60 for single day passes. They have special passes for Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering fans as well as a $600 super package. $165 for three days, or $60 for one, does not seem unreasonable. The $600 package is ridiculous. That includes, what appears to be, a Hasbro tour. I went on a Hasbro Tour in 2007. That was focused on Transformers. It would not be worth it to me to go on this one as it will be about all their brands, not just the one I care about. I’m sure there are some people who will jump at this. I’m not one of them. From there things go down hill. You get VIP panel access…but only when you’re one of the first 50 VIP’s in line at least 40 minutes before a panel. This would seem to defeat the purpose of being a VIP if you still have to line up 40 minutes early. You get one evening activity included, though they have not announced these yet. You get reserved seating in the main theater…for one event only. You’re SOL on the rest. You also get a goodie bag, of which I would be interested in only a couple of items from, maybe. I’m sure some people will find this worth it. None of that is really unexpected. I figured they would do a tour, I just didn’t expect them to charge $600 for it.
Far more importantly, we finally have an answer to the biggest question I had about Hascon. Will there be a dealer room? Yes! But wait, let’s not get too excited. Tables are either $1000 or $3000. You read that right. It’s not a typo. So, will there be a dealer room? Yes. Will there be anyone there selling anything I want? We’ll see, but I’m not holding my breath.
People go to Transformers conventions for a lot of reasons. For me, there is one that overrides all others. I go to buy things for my collection. I’m a toy collector. That’s not to say that some of the as yet unannounced events might not be fun. I’m crossing my fingers for a Stan Bush Concert. But the toys and memorabilia is far more important to me. Is it possible that some of big dealers could be there, say a Big Bad Toys Store or TFSource? Sure, I could see it. (I’m just speculating, I have no idea if they will be.) But I don’t go to conventions to buy things I can order online any time. I go for the items that aren’t readily available. When I went to Dairycon this year, I found a 2007 Movie popcorn tin, a box of Revenge of the Fallen Valentines, a 2007 Movie Toy Shave Set, and a handmade G1 pillowcase made from a G1 sheet. Those for items were $31. I also did several deep dives into boxes of loose Beast Wars toys to find parts I needed. At $1000 per table, I do not expect to find dealers with things like that at Hascon. I had hoped to get a table myself, but everything I have to sell isn’t even worth $1000. It seems like Hasbro has priced the smaller dealers out. Not unexpected, but very sad.
That begs the question. Who is Hascon for? It certainly doesn’t seem like it’s for toy collectors. They cancelled their official Transformers Convention, and have replaced it with a public version of Toy Fair. To be clear, I in no way regret that Fun Pub lost the license. Having no official convention is better than a Fun Pub convention. Still, Hasbro does not seem to have the slightest idea what Botcon was and have replaced it with something that has little to nothing to do with being a Transformers convention. I’m only going because it’s an hour away from me. I wouldn’t travel any farther for it.
That brings me to San Diego Comic Con. You might be thinking, “Wait, I thought Hasbro wasn’t going to SDCC this year.” Seibertron.com reported today that during a Hasbro Public Relations event it was revealed that Hasbro would be attending San Diego Comic Con with exclusives as they usually do. They didn’t think this was news. I don’t have the exact quotes, but at the end of Toy Fair this year, some official source from Hasbro said that they would see everyone at Hascon, which suggested that they were not doing San Diego Comic Con this year. This was widely reported across the major Transformers news sites. It was pretty big news.
I don’t expect that Hasbro has people monitoring fan sites daily, but you would think that if they cared about fans as much as they claim to, that they would at least be aware of what is being reported in the fandom and correct something as grossly incorrect as Hasbro not attending SDCC. Maybe I am expecting too much. They did spend months telling us that April 24th was the release date for The Last Knight toys, and that turned out to be a lie.
(And no, I will not get over the TLK toy release date fuck up. I will be angry about that until the day I die, and quite a bit longer after that.)
Now, you might be saying, “but they are an enormous company, they don’t care about the fans”. I would agree with you 100%, but Hasbro’s own people kept coming to Botcon and telling everyone how much they love the fans. Hascon seems to be a lousy way to show it. But Hasbro has been shafting fans for years. They promised us an Anime version of Legends Shockwave. That never happened. They promised us a second shipping of the Combiner Wars Deluxe Aerialbots that would come with the comic books. That never happened. (I’m still pissed about that.) They let Fun Pub screw us over for all those years charging us top dollar for cheaply made toys. I could go on. So, while they claim to care about the fans, they certainly aren’t doing anything that indicates they actually do.
Hasbro needs to stop saying they care about the fans, or actually start caring about the fans. No one is asking for the moon, just deliver on what you promise, be aware of what is actually going on, and understand the fans you claim to care about. History clearly indicates that none of that is currently true.
Will Hascon suck? For me, I’d say more likely than not it will. Evidence indicates Hasbro is not capable of getting it right. Could I be wrong? I hope so. I really do. But I measure how good a convention is by the amount and quality of Transformers toys and memorabilia I bring home with me. I’m really not expecting much.
Thanks for reading!